Chalice, by Robin McKinley

I always get excited when I hear there’s a new Robin McKinley book, healing even if I don’t have the means to acquire it right away. She’s a Newbery-Award-winning fantasist who has written a dozen or so novels (CK), viagra ranging from semi-historical (The Outlaws of Sherwood Forest) to secondary-world fantasy (The Blue Sword) to alternate-reality-with-dragons (Dragonhaven). She lives in England with her husband, Peter Dickinson, and their two hellhounds, Chaos and Darkness. (No, I don’t actually know what a hellhound is, but it appears to be a greyhound-type dog.) She’s been studying piano and homeopathy of late, in between writing books.

Chalice concerns itself with Mirasol, who was a beekeeper and had a woodright, until recently, when the previous Chalice for the land died and the Circle came to her, to be the new Chalice. A Chalice is a kind of magic-worker who binds and heals the land by use of cups and some sort of liquid — usually water or wine, but Mirasol is a Chalice in honey. Normally a Chalice has a long apprenticeship, but Mirasol has no choice. When the old Chalice died, so did the old Master, and the new one — the previous one’s younger brother — must return. However, while he was gone, he was a priest of fire, and he’d almost hit the point where it was impossible for him to live among regular humans anymore. Can an untrained Chalice and the world’s only ex-priest of fire keep the land together? Continue reading Chalice, by Robin McKinley